Unexpected onions



Today I finally got around to planting out the lettuce in the potager garden. What I want from the garden is not so much to produce great quantities as to learn how to grow a variety of things. Last year the garden turned out quite a few beets, carrots, leeks, and tomatoes. Other plants didn’t perform well – the cucumbers didn’t give much, and leafy greens picked up black spot from the commercial compost I started with (the master gardeners locally knew about this problem).

Alex and I turned a binful of our own compost into the beds and it seems to have overcome the black spot issue. That’s good news in a bad year for gardening. Our governor, Chris Gregoire, asked the president to declare a farming disaster in several counties. I still don’t have a single ripe tomato, the carrots bolted before they got big enough to eat, and my first summer squash developed blossom rot.

The lettuces on the other hand are doing extremely well. I buy a pack of lettuce starts whenever a new one shows up at the farmer’s market. For the past month I’ve had at least four different varieties going. They finally bolted in the hot weather. Today I left one green lettuce to set seed and pulled the rest. I replaced them with new starts, including the poetically named Drunken Women, which flops over onto the soil.

Brassicas have also done well. I planted four broccoli plants which provided several dinners before giving out. The cauliflower didn’t get terribly big before it turned brown and separated. I’m still waiting for the brussels sprouts, I have four hulking plants hogging most of one bed.

As I was digging in an apparently empty square to plant the lettuce, I found a small cache of onions. I had planted half a dozen green onions in that square earlier this year. The green bits vanished, some bug or other got them, but apparently the bulbs kept on growing. I dug them up and immediately chopped them into the stir fry that night. They were so cute! Tasty too.

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